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Shrubs for Summer Color

Rose Deutzia (Deutzia x rosea) is a lovely summer-flowering shrub perfect for a sunny border. It bears soft pink, star-shaped flowers in early summer. Prune immediately after flowering by cutting up to one fifth of the oldest branches down to ground level and cut flowered shoots back to lower buds. Plant them in moist, well-drained soil.

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Fabiana (Fabiana imbricata f. violacea) is an unusual shrub that resembles a giant heather. It belongs to the same family as potatoes, tomatoes and petunias. It bears pale mauve, tubular flowers from early to mid summer. Plant them in a sheltered place and in a well-drained soil. Prune them in spring but do not cut into old wood.

Lady’s Eardrops (Fuchsia magellanica Versicolor) is a shrub with superb foliage that begins grey-green and white or yellow, flushed with purple-pink and matures to a slatey green, irregularly edged with creamy white. It bears slim, tubular flowers that are red and purple in mid summer to autumn. Prune back frost-damaged stems in spring and remove any straggly branches.

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Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus Red Heart) is a slow-growing, hardy hibiscus. It produces large, trumpet-shaped blooms in late summer. The flowers are dramatic, white, 6 cm across with dark maroon centers. It is a good choice for chalky soils. Pruning is not usually needed. Place them in full sun.

Blue lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata Bluebird) is a late summer flowerer. It performs best in a cool, moist soil in a place with light shade. It bears a dome of blue fertile flowers that forms a hazy center surrounded by an abstract pattern of ray florets, which will vary in color according to soil. On chalky soils expect a reddish-purple tinge, while on acid soils they will be violet-blue. Prune by thinning or cutting back hard in spring.

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Beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis) is a deciduous, suckering shrub bearing a profusion of tubular flowers with patterned, yellow throats in early summer. It tolerates a wide range of soils but grow best in fertile, well-drained soil. Prefers a place in full sun. Prune after flowering by shortening or removing up to a third of the flowered stems.

Tree mallow (Lavatera Rosea) is an easy to grow shrub that blooms from mid to late summer. Deep rosy-pink flowers, 10 cm across open profusely over grey-green foliage. Grow them in a well-drained soil and in a sheltered position form cold winds. Rejuvenate the bush with an annual hard pruning in early spring, removing old growth.

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Mock orange (Philadelphus Virginal) is a vigorous and upright shrub, bearing double, pure white flowers, with delicious sweet perfume in early to mid summer. Prune them after flowering by removing a fifth of the oldest growths down to ground level. Cut flowered stems back to new, strong shoots lower down the stem. Plant them in a place with full sun or part shade.

Cape figwort (Phygelius x rectus Winchester Fanfare) is a cultivar that provides great summer color with its tubular flowers of an unusual shade of orange-pink that hang from the stems like inverted trumpets. Plant them in well-drained soil in a place with full sun. During severe winters the foliage will die back but re-grows in spring.

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Shrubs for Spring Color

We all wait spring, the season that start to bring color in our gardens, so it makes sense to plant for an early show of color and perfume. Place shrubs for spring interest at intervals around your garden, underplanted with groups of bulbs and spring-flowering herbaceous perennials.

In the next lines you will find some examples of shrubs that you could plant in your garden for spring color and interest. Many of them are well known and used for a long time in our garden scheme.

Stachyurus (Stachyurus praecox) is a deciduous shrub native from Japan. Its reddish-brown branches are strung with hanging racemes of small, greenish-yellow, bell-shaped flowers, like exotic catkins, in late winter to early spring. It prefers an acid, humus-rich soil, enriched with leafmould or well-rotted compost before planting.

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